The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 31, 2013

Kan.-based EagleMed announces safety milestone

Staff and wire reports
Enid News and Eagle

WICHITA, Kan. — A Kansas-based medical transport service that has had three deadly helicopter crashes in Oklahoma since 2010 says it has advanced to a higher level of a voluntary federal safety program.

Wichita, Kan.-based EagleMed LLC announced Tuesday it has entered the second level of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Safety Management System. The company says it has been working with the FAA for more than 18 months on the process that is designed as a higher standard for safety in air medical transport services.

The company’s third deadly crash happened last month when a patient died after a medical helicopter crashed near the Choctaw National Health Care Center in Talihina in southeastern Oklahoma.

Two other double-fatality EagleMed helicopter crashes happened in Oklahoma City in February and near Kingfisher in 2010.

Federal investigators say the probable cause of a medical helicopter crash near Kingfisher in 2010 that killed two people was the pilot’s impaired judgment, due to medications.

National Transportation Safety Board said in its probable cause report toxicology reports on the pilot detected the presence of numerous medications, including a prescription narcotic pain reliever and other drugs with sedative effects.

“It is likely that these medications would have impaired the pilot’s judgment and ability to maintain control of the helicopter,” the NTSB report stated. “A review of the pilot’s medical history found medical treatment for several conditions that were not reported to the Federal Aviation Administration, the certificate holder, or the operator.”